It’s time once again. As the days get warmer and longer, I’m getting the urge to go back and edit, expand and recraft the story of Black Mask & Pale Rider. I’ve even decided a title change should take place, considering that there will be a third character added in the second book. That being Wren Wennemein, and to leave her out of the title would be rather rude. Right now, I’m toying with Elves of the Old West.
The first book will go into how the two elves wound up on Earth in the first place. I have most of this part written out, I just need to expand on all of that. So with all of that, I have some work cut out for me. But, this is a story that’s stuck with me for some time and has grown beyond what Black Mask & Pale Rider originally was.
Granted, there are what I call “The Four Distractions” I have to contend with on my taskbar.
Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, Champions Online and Guild Wars 2. Maybe I can steer clear of them long enough to get some work in. Usually when I begin working, I don’t stop for a while (until I get hungry or need to walk around or go to the bathroom).
So this will be brought up again, and if all goes well, I’ll offer up chapter downloads in pdf format as I did with the original series and with Rocket Fox.
Captain’s Log; Stardate 83405.31
We entered the Sierra Sector with slight apprehension, but we knew that we can’t back down. The Borg has tried to invade and destroy the worlds in both the Alpha Quadrant and the Beta Quadrant for years since the Enterprise D first encountered them so many years ago. I reflect on the history of the Borg and can’t help but wonder if what Captain Archer was describing in his starlogs in the 22nd Century was not in fact the Borg that they had encountered. And if it was, what were they doing there. None of that matters now, it would seem, as we prepare for battle.
I just hope it isn’t our last.
“Shields up,” T’Chall called out as she moved to her command position. “Ready tricobalt devices. Let’s make the Borg sorry they ever decided to venture this far into Federation space.” The crew responded as T’Chall always expected of them; with efficiency. They’d worked together as a crew for five years, and they only got better with time.
“We’re being hailed,” Lt. H’Lorru announced, a beige coated Caitian who happened to keep his mane tied back at all times. A recent addition to the crew, but a welcome one.
“Let me guess,” T’Chall muttered as the usual Borg greeting sounded out across the bridge.
“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”
“You’d think after nearly thirty years they’d come up with something new,” F’aat, first officer of the Ocelot said as she shook her head. F’aat had been first officer for as long as T’Chall was captain.
“Obviously originality is irrelevant to the Borg,” T’Chall added with a smirk. “Ensign Side,” she called out to her helmsman, one of three crew members not Caitian, this one an Orion. “Attack pattern Omega. I don’t want to wait and see what the Borg has planned.”
“Yes Captain,” Side said with a grin as she piloted the ship into position.
The Ocelot, like her sister ship, the Defiant, was a versatile ship. Quick, powerful and deceptive. The Ocelot had a cloaking device similar to the Defiant’s as well, but after years of helping the Romulans find a new home, the Ocelot and her crew were honoured with several Romulan technical designs which helped her even more than the Defiant ever had. If the Ocelot had been flying with the Task Force that struck against the Dominion, that war would have ended a lot sooner.
Weapons fired as the Side dive bombed the lone Borg cube that had invaded this sector of space. On her port side was an Odyssey Class star ship called the U.S.S. Farpoint, on her starboard side, a Miranda Class vessel called the U.S.S. Merrimack. The Ocelot would lead the way.
“No other ships in sight, Captain,” Natt, the Ocelot’s tactical officer announced, a young Caitian who’d seen his fair share of battles thanks to signing on with this ship. “They’re being a little bold, don’t you think.”
“Don’t underestimate them, lieutenant,” T’Chall replied as the ship rocked from a blast from the cube. Nothing the ship couldn’t handle. “If there’s one thing the Borg is good at, it’s adapting.”
The Ocelot kept her attack up, firing a volley from her sets of phase cannon and launching a full spread of photon torpedoes. As the Ocelot fired directly on the Borg cube, the Merrimack swung about to hit the cube’s more sensitive areas. Meanwhile, the Farpoint acted as a diversion so the two smaller vessels could make the most damage in as little time as possible.
“The Merrimack is caught in a tractor beam,” tactical officer Natt responded from his console. “Her weapons are down. Shields are being depleated.”
“Helm,” T’Chall quickly announced. “Give the Merrimack support. Fire on the tractor beam. We can’t lose that ship.” Side quickly agreed and began steering the ship toward the Merrimack’s position.
“Captain,” called out M’Kaso, one of the Ocelot’s science officers. “I’m detecting a ship decloaking to the Merrimack’s starboard.” M’Kaso tapped her controls quickly as T’Chall waited. “Definitely a Klingon ship. Raptor class by the look. No, wait, a Puyjaq Class escort. No registry, but she’s called…”
“Let me guess,” T’Chall said with a sigh. “It’s the Tigris.”
“Makes sense,” F’aat said as the ship was rocked by another volley from the Borg vessel. “S’Returru is suicidal. But why she’d attack us during a Borg attack…”
“She’s not attacking us,” Natt called out. “She’s targeting the Borg cube.”
“Small miracles,” T’Chall said as she focused her attention back to the view screen. “I doubt she’ll attack us after dealing with the cube. Most likely she’ll attempt to steal what debris she can and go to warp as fast as she can. Keep firing on the cube.”
The Ocelot continued her assault on the cube as the Tigris pulled the Merrimack out of range, then turned sharply and began firing on the cube. Not as fast as the Ocelot, she still had some power to her, and her crew was well versed with what they needed to do.
“The Tigris has pulled the Merrimack out of harm’s way,” M’Kaso informed T’Chall. “And she’s making a run at the cube.”
“Match her, helm,” T’Chall called out. “We may currently be on the same side, but when this is done watch out for S’Returru. We never know what she’ll do once the danger is past.”
Together with the Farpoint, the two smaller vessels pounded the Borg cube, it wasn’t long before they managed to overpower it and finally destroy it. But it was costly, as the Tigris took heavy damage.
“The Tigris is dead in the water, Captain,” M’Kaso called out.
“I know exactly what S’Returru was doing,” T’Chall muttered as she looked to F’aat. “This was her way of getting some leverage. Come in and help, speed off and remind us how ‘we owe her one’ at some other point in time.”
“That’s her standard MO,” F’aat replied. “But looks like she won’t be able to use that this time, especially if we help her.” One of the console terminals chirped as the Ocelot received a hail. “Looks like the captain of the Farpoint is hailing us.”
“On screen,” T’Chall announced as she sat back in her chair. Soon, the human captain of the Farpoint was visible. “Not exactly an epic battle, Captain Majors.”
“Better this way,” he replied with a chuckle. “We’ll tow the Merrimack. I take you’ll handle the Klingon vessel.”
“I know who it is,” T’chall said with a nod. “She’ll need some help getting underway again, so we can offer that to her at the very least.” T’Chall paused before giving F’aat a look. “Do we have anyone in engineering that isn’t Caitian? Would most likely make it easier.”
“Well, it seems as though you’ve got things handled here, Captain,” Majors replied. “See you back at space dock. Majors out.” With that, the screen shifted back to the view of deep space, along with the Klingon escort vessel that hung like a wounded bird.
“I suppose we should begin…” F’aat began before she was cut off by another chirp from a console.
“Another vessel, Captain,” M’Kaso reported. “Bearing 2-1-3 Mark 6. Can’t identify it, Sir. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But, she definitely has a…”
Forward: this is completely fanfiction and has been written purely for entertainment purposes. I do not lay any claim to the events and persons in the Star Trek Universe, however, I did create the characters found herein based on existing species found in Star Trek. This is presented purely for entertainment purposes. This is presented as it was written in its first draft.
Time Is On My Side
I have seen hundreds of timelines in my years working with the Temporal Protectorate. Sometimes we become complacent that here in the 30th Century we’re safe. But time can have massive ripples, especially when someone decides to take a boulder and drop it into the murky waters that are the time stream. This is where our job comes into play. We fix the timeline if it happens to go astray. But there are massive side effects with changing the timeline; one wrong move and everything can be changed in a way that you never would have imagined.
I’ve seen an Earth where the Nazis won the Second World War; a time when Attila the Hun attacked and successfully sacked Rome; a time where it was Chief Powhatan that discovered Europe; or the timeline that saw India and Australia become world superpowers. Those are just the timelines on Earth, that doesn’t even include the Vulcans, Klingons, Caitians, Trill, Andorians, Ferengi, Cardassians…
But from all of the timelines I’ve seen, in a galactic sense, there are several common factors that take place. Events that no matter what happened in the past, there is one thing that manages to come about. For example, the creation of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. In each timeline, those two events always take place. The destruction of Romulus, the disappearance of Spock. Again, two major events that also always take place.
But among all of those events, and those four in particular, I find it amazing that two more series of events happen that brings together the crews of two very different ships. One is a Federation vessel, Defiant Class, called the U.S.S. Ocelot. Fitting name, considering her captain and crew. The only vessel in Starfleet that has a complete crew compliment of Caitians. Caitians are one of two feline species in the universe. They are intelligent, strong willed, and strong physically. It’s said, it’s best not to anger a Caitian. But should you make friends with them, then you’d have one for life. This is the type of person Captain M’iaa T’Chall is. She is loyal, hardworking and a career officer with Starfleet. In any timeline. She was given command of the Ocelot, and given the opportunity to pick her own crew. She did just that, making it the first fully Caitian crew in all of Starfleet.
The other ship is much different than the Ocelot, yet very similar. A Puyjaq Class Raptor Escort, it is simply known as the Tigris. Her registration has been removed after the band of pirates took it over right out of Klingon space dock. It was soon learned that a band of Ferasan took it over and began plundering what they could, working alone and without authority. The Ferasan are the other feline species in the universe, and they aren’t much different from the Caitians. Unless you count their bad temper, aggression and hatred of all Caitians, plus the fact that most Ferasan have telepathic abilities.
But the Tigris and the Ocelot time and time again appear. No matter the timeline. And Captain T’Chall is all too familiar with Captain S’Returru. The two have played a game of cat and mouse each time they encounter each other, with S’Returru always managing to stay one step ahead of T’Chall. Well, this time might be one time when the two have to work together.
Because the timeline needs to be repaired in a way greater than any of us in the 30th Century could ever attempt. We need to recruit more people, and it just so happens that the Ocelot and the Tigris fit the bill perfectly.
Now, we just have to get to them in time.
I don’t often take a stab at fanfiction, I’ve got too many different characters running around my head as it is and sometimes it’s difficult to prevent them crossing over. But from time to time I’ll get an idea for a property already out there. Like Star Trek.
I wrote one Star Trek fanfiction over fifteen years ago. I crossed it over with Hawkworld from DC Comics, where I had Hawkman and Hawkwoman meet each incarnation of Trek up to that point. Obviously, they didn’t meet up with Archer and crew in Star Trek Enterprise (had the show been around, though, I just might have). It was a long effort, my longest writing up to that point, and I finished it. However, I have no idea where the copy is now, so no, unfortunately, I can’t share it with you.
Since then, however, I’ve developed a new idea in Trek, based on characters I created in Star Trek Online.
The idea is based on a completely Caitian crew (the feline species in Star Trek) Captained by M’iaa T’Chall (she is the short one in the above picture). I’ll also be adding in my Klingon Defense Force character, S’Returru, who isn’t Klingon but Ferasan. Ferasan is the other feline species in Trek, and they are rather hostile to their Caitian cousins.
The idea came about that since J. J. Abrams reboot of Star Trek, one would think that the Temporal Investigators would have a field day attempting to fix all of the timeline irregularities. Usually they’ll recruit different Starfleet or other members to help fix the problems in the timeline (seeing how most often the ones trying to fix things are Starfleet officers from the 30th Century, they’d probably pick Starfleet officers). In the case of what took place in the events of Abrams’ Star Trek, Temporal Investigations wouldn’t require one person, they’d need an entire crew. Fortunately for them, of the events that created the alternate universe there were four constants. Meaning, as time progressed, there were always four events that took place in each timeline. Those four events were the destruction of Romulus, the disappearance of Ambassador Spock, and the crews of two vessels, one Starfleet another a stolen Klingon Raptor escort ship. The first ship is the U.S.S. Ocelot, captained by M’iaa T’Chall. In each timeline, she will captain the Ocelot, and her crew will be 100% Caitian. The second ship is called the I.K.S. Tigris, and is captained by a Ferasan by the name of S’Returru. Her crew happens to be 100% Ferasan. But in each timeline, those four constants always take place.
So Temporal Investigations recruits them in order to ensure the timeline continues as it should. The goal of the crews of each ship is to find a difference in the timeline, and fix it.
The initial setup is three chapters that will read exactly the same, with small difference. The Ocelot will encounter the Borg/Tholians/Iconians. They will chase down one of the fleeing ships to discover it’s attacking the Tigris. As the two crews realize who each other is, a third ship will arrive which they cannot recognize. That set up happens three times, until the fourth chapter will reveal the ship is a timeship, with the goal of recruiting the Ocelot and the Tigris.
So that’s the plan in a nutshell for a little bit of fanfiction. Just because the idea is there.
For those who downloaded the full series PDF, you’ll notice at the end of the book there are five chapters to an appendix which describes the world (and star system) the people of Rocket Fox live in. Religions, politics, slang terms, life styles, and species. For those who didn’t, however, here is the world building guide, chapter by chapter.
These guides will be in each series, describing new slang terms as they crop up, new planets, new ships, new species, new cities, and new cultures. Once each book is complete, each new appendix will be posted here. With the completion of the entire series, a full PDF download of the entire appendix will be made available.
My 12 year old self would be really excited.
My 12 year old self would also be really impatient, because while this first series which has become a book (or, is in the process of becoming a book), it’s not done. There’s a second series coming which will go through just as much work as this first one. Well, not as much work. Most of the ground work has already been laid. In truth, while the first book started in November of 2012, the ground work started in November of 2010 when I wrote Swift Fox and the Pirates of the Jackai. That was a NaNoWriMo project, and elements of that story will see the light of day in this revamp of the series.
One could even say that the ground work was set in motion over 30 years ago, when my 12 year old self made the star system and many of the species that are encounter in Rocket Fox. At the time, mind you, the Vulpine were called Foxian. I think the change in name is much better. For the longest time, each planet and species was in the same star system, but again, that’s all changed with this new series (and the many hours watching talks on Youtube by Neil deGrasse Tyson about star systems, learning about habitable zones, reading about new interstellar discoveries and watching copious amounts of Star Trek and playing Star Trek Online).
Naturally, my 12 year old self would want pictures in the book, because while I’m an adult and read novels and wrote this as a novel, my 12 year old self was still reading some of the Wind In The Willows, Watership Down and other books that had pictures before each chapter. Which, I will be attempting. It’s been a long time since I drew anything, and to be honest, I could be lazy and just pay someone to draw different pictures before each chapter or character sketches, but part of my wants to do it all myself. Though, I’ll not say no if anyone wishes to draw them for me.
The work is not done, but at least I am safe in the knowledge that the first step was taken, and it went well. There’s still editing that needs to be done and a couple of rewrites, all the while I’ll be setting up the scenes and writing them out for series two (which will eventually become book two).
My 12 year old self would be really excited.
The first series is now complete. After a couple of years of writing, plotting, world building, and setting up several different stories (even Swift Fox is one of those stories), the entire thing is available for download.
Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk
Vulpinia Prime. A utopian paradise on the edge of the Lupine Sector of Space. The third planet of the Vulpine Star System, her inhabitants take to heart their age old adage that they are meant to protect the sector from any and all threats. For many, it is an honour to be chosen at the many Academies of science, engineering, mathematics and even the famed military colleges that dot the planet. Rarely has there been a serious threat which the Royal Vulpine Armada has had need to deal with. But Article 16 of the Space Exploration Charter is there for a reason. And for many of the cadets at the Chattingham Academy, they are soon going to find out why.
The Full Series - Rocket Fox – Flight of the Nighthawk
The Final Chapter!
The crew has boarded.
The mission is clear.
The Nighthawk prepares to launch.
To be continued in Pau Theta II
Graduation is finished, every student is now looking forward to their new assignments. For Captain Senia Felix and the crew of the Nighthawk, they already have an excellent idea. Now, they just have to board the ship they have studied through schematics and data pads for some time now. The Nighthawk awaits.
This weekend the final chapter!
With just two chapters left (technically, I need only write one, and in truth only half, because I’ve written about half of it already), time for some random Rocket Fox stuff.
The Rocket Fox Soundtrack
As the inevitable ending to the first series draws nearer, I complied a soundtrack of music that really helps out with the universe (star system) I created. These are out of the epic background like music of Two Steps From Hell.
So, in no particular order:
- Starships: Nicki Minaj
- Cosmic Castaway: Electrasy
- Over My Head: Lit
- It’s My Time To Fly: The Urge
- Magic Carpet Ride: Steppenwolf
That’s a short list, but it’s what I’ve listened to at times when I’ve been writing and plotting.
Rocket Fox covers
New cover designs for Rocket Fox. The first draft is almost complete.
For years Darwin’s Theory of Evolution has been debated heavily by those who call themselves fundamental Christians (that group that believes in such cognitive dissonance). They say there’s no real evidence of the theory, but in truth there is evidence in the theory around us all the time. We live in a world that is evolving every day.
The funny thing about Darwin’s writings is that today, many fundamentalists say that the church (that being the Church of England) fully believed his writings were blasphemy. In fact, they weren’t. The Church of England fully believed that Darwin’s writings and his discovery about how life continued to evolve were in fact pretty spot on with how God worked things out on Earth and thus in the universe. What the Church of England didn’t really grasp was the description of how nature can be extremely cruel. But what else can you call it, especially when there are creatures, such as a wasp, that will sting a cockroach in the brain thus zombifying it, drag it to a nest (still alive), lay eggs so the larva have something to eat when they hatch. Keeping in mind the cockroach is still alive when they hatch. The Church of England at the time, couldn’t wrap their heads around that fact.
It’s not any different than ancient astronomers who believed that the sun revolved around the Earth. Surprisingly, fifty percent of people in the United States today believe this to be true. A large portion also believes that the Earth is only 6,000 years old (or 10,000, seems as though not all of them agree). In fact, the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old. And the universe itself is over 13 billion years old.
But let’s get back to the theory of evolution. We do evolve. We have evolved. What it was we originally evolved from, I can’t say. I’m not a scientist, I’m only someone who really enjoys reading up on these things. My age old curiosity with dinosaurs and even some of the earliest mammals has not waned. I remember seeing a tabloid (World News or some such thing) that announced scientists believed that dinosaurs could have evolved and become a humanoid species. The thought intrigued me, and of course at the time (I believe I was around 9 or 10) I had come up with all of these wild imaginings of life had dinosaurs become the dominant species (or at least one breed of dinosaur in particular). This idea has stuck with me for a long time, and is one of the reasons why I went ahead with the story of Rocket Fox. It began with the idea that dinosaurs, or at least one of the dinosaurs, evolved into intelligent bipedal beings who managed to develop their own technology. Naturally, this idea wasn’t new, and it’s rather ironic that in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the crew meets a species that had evolved from a particular dinosaur on Earth, then possibly escaped the cataclysm that effectively wiped out the dinosaurs. It’s a sound theory, and one I used with the group I eventually called the Critainians.
But the theory of evolution isn’t just something that can be used for fantastic ideas. Just look at the diverse number of creatures we have on our own planet. Millions that live on land, sea, fly through the sky, and even exist at the microscopic level. By some cosmic role of the dice, human beings drew the card that granted them technological advancement. But what if somewhere in the galaxy, all the conditions are the same on some other planet, but some other species drew the card. This is one of the thoughts behind Rocket Fox. That foxes, lesser cats and even raccoons became dominant and learned how to create and advance their own civilizations.
In the real world, evolution does some odd things that allows a species to survive in harsh climates. Arctic Foxes have a white coat in winter and a grey mottled coat in summer, to help hide from any predators and allow them to sneak up on them, and to keep themselves hidden while they hunt. Crows and ravens have been known to play and even use tools. They’ve been studied making toys that they share with others to play with. Even bacteria and viruses evolve.
To say that evolution is utter nonsense is, well, utter nonsense. Evolution exists. And before someone shouts out “then how come humans and monkeys exist together now”, which I know will be one argument. If you look closely, any species has within it several different members of the same family. Ocelots, caracals, servals, cheetahs and cougars are all related, but they are all different. Red fox, arctic fox, fennec fox swift fox and kit fox all are the same genus, but different species. Yet, they are all foxes. To a greater extent, this continues because they are all canines and related to wolves, coyotes and different domesticated breeds of dogs. There will also be the argument that why can’t we see it. I can only suspect that trying to watch evolution is slightly more boring than watching paint dry. You don’t actually see results until long periods of time has happened. For an entire species, evolution doesn’t mean you’ll wake up the next morning with something different. It means it’ll take years in order to see a change.
As the story is two chapters away from completion (technically one, as I’ve already written the last chapter), I decided to share a couple of things with everyone. The first is more on an inspirational note, while the second is about names of ships.
Starships were meant to fly
Starships were meant to fly
Hands up and touch the sky
Can’t stop ‘cause we’re so high
Let’s do this one last time
It’s interesting the things I find inspiring for writing. Now, normally, I don’t listen to Nicki Minaj, but the fan video with her song that intertwined several sci fi television shows and movies along with the beat of the music was really, really good. I have to honestly say, I’ve been listening to it (not watching it) while writing up some ideas for Rocket Fox: Pau Theta II.
So far, the Rocket Fox series has been a build up to what’s coming. What’s coming is going to have a lot more action to it. From action in the city of Rondu on the plaent’s surface, to the fighter pilots lead by Left-tenant Chloe Grivana, to the actions of Left-tenant Mia Talon in the pilot’s seat of the Nighthawk herself.
I’ve even toyed with the idea of borrowing the line “starships were meant to fly” and have it being said by Aria Sharpspear or Captain Felix at some point (most likely toward the end).
Sorry for the ramble, but I just find it interesting what things can help bring out ideas when it seems the well has run dry.
A brief history of ships in Rocket Fox
With one chapter left in the Rocket Fox series (the first book), I felt it necessary to divulge the naming convention for the ships.
As it will become clear, all ships will be dubbed the name of a bird, whether that be a bird of prey or a song bird or nautical bird. This includes the Osprey (which was originally called the Tritan), the Kestrel, the Peregrine, the Kingifsher, right on up to the Nighthawk.
On a personal note, I like birds, I find them fascinating. Particularly birds of prey like hawks and eagles and falcons. For the story, I added that aspect into the first attempts at flight by the Vulpinian people.
The first ship was called the Kitty Hawk (a hat tip to the location where Orville and Wilbur Wright had their historic first flight), which was the test craft to see if it was indeed possible to create a craft which could fly. The first passenger transport air craft (terrestrial ships) were named the Kitty Hawk after this first historic voyage. Since then over a thousand years have passed, and the interplanetary passenger ships are named the Kingfisher class shuttle craft.
As space exploration really began to take off, the first satellites were also given some of these names. Such as the Puffin, the Night Owl, the Gull, and the Parrot. As massive space exploration vessels were created, they were named after larger birds, with even one getting the rather embarrassing name the Turkey Vulture (since that time, it was decided all names will be no more than one word in length, and no longer than ten letters).
As the Vulpine and Felanus began meeting hostile species in space, they had to build vessels for war, and they were given very intimidating names. Such as the Peregrine, the Kestrel, the Falcon and the Eagle. The most recently named class of vessel in the Osprey, which is the flagship of the Royal Vulpine Armada.
There have been exceptions to this rule, as the fighter craft of the fleet is called Maverick (named for the engineer who developed the first jet engine). With the launch of the NIghthawk, the name Maverick is no longer in use, as the Nighthawk’s fighter craft are often called the ‘Hawks, shortened version of the Nighthawk. Another exception is many of the cargo cruisers in the Vulpine Trade Commission. In particular, the Barrow, or as the refit is now called, the Barrow’s Revenge. The Barrow was named after the farm and construction implement which is used to carry large amounts of material from one location to another. The Revenge, as she is known, is refit with a hangar bay which houses the now famous Midnight Squadron of attack fighters, along with an expanded cargo bay,and forward and aft photon torpedo launchers and forward phaser cannons.
The day has arrived that each of the cadets at the Chattingham Academy and Military College have looked forward to. Their graduation and the announcement of their placements. While Senia Felix and her friends and the newly formed crew of the Nighthawk know exactly what their placement is, the announcement will be news to many others. At least, before they launch, they’ll be getting some sound advice from some of their mentors.
Just two more chapters left in this first series.
So sometime this weekend, Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk will have finished and the next chapter in the story will begin. We’ve met Senia, Aria, Hardy, Clarfax, Mia, Mirri, Sparky, along with Jadda, Claudia, Bobbie, Gilbert, Philbert, Mallard, Tyrell, Collinsworth, Gerring and Pitts. Some will be leaving behind for a while, even more will be used in future stories (don’t worry, we’ll see Jadda and Bobby again). But as the crew launches toward Pau Theta II, there will be more characters.
While the aspect of relationships has been small (I might play them up a bit more in the second draft) and even sexuality has been slightly grazed (I’ve had a few people ask if Senia is a lesbian) there will be more obvious signs in the second story.
I’ve always said that LGBTQ characters in this universe are not looked down upon in Vulpinian societies. They are seen as a core part of a healthy family as they love and care for each other, and they support and raise adopted kits and cubs just as any other family who has children of their own. What is frowned upon in Vulpinian societies (though, it is becoming more accepted) is interspecies relationships. A Vulpine and a Felanus who build a family together, for example.
This is going to be seen in the next story, with two characters. Shauna and “Spike”, Shauna being a female Felanus and “Spike” being a female Vulpine. They don’t hide the fact that they are a couple, as a matter of fact they seem to flaunt it in front of the ruling class of the city of Rondu any chance they get. Naturally, they aren’t persecuted because they happen to be constables with the Main Authority. They’ve got a lot of contacts on the surface of Pau Theta II, both in the slums of Rondu and in a region far north of the city which happens to have the largest population of indigenous species on Pau Theta II, the Chiroptera.
There is also going to be a person who is seen as a leader in the Vulpine district of the slum areas of Rondu, who fights against tyranny of the ruling class. He does it all from a wheel chair, as he is inflicted with a bone degenerative disorder and can’t walk and has limited mobility in his limbs. But, his mind is fresh and he’s learned how to hack the satellite defense systems and communication systems of the planet. He’s never captured because the ruling class cannot conceive that a person with such a disorder would be able to cause such havoc in their defense systems.
He’ll be the leader of a small band of rebels who has begun their own revolution to end the disparity on the planet. He’ll have support from several different areas, including the lead singer and band members of a rock band that plays events and venues within Rondu. The lead singer, named Reta Herd (though it’ll be revealed that is only her stage name), will have an interesting connection off planet as it’s revealed she dodged the draft during the Great Lupine Land War. Her sister was also drafted, and lead ground force troops during the war, and who’s second in command was a black furred Felanus.
There is also going to be Mad Addie, who is only called that by the military police of Rondu. Addie is an older Vulpine female who seems to always be distracted and tired. This is because she’s taken it upon herself to take in any orphans from the Vulpine and Felanus districts of the slums. She tries very hard to make sure they are clothed and fed, and it’s believed she has over a dozen staying with her, ranging in age from 6 to 14.
Those are just a few of the new characters coming out in the next story. Along with those, the characters of Mirri, Aria, the doctors Ringtail, and the squadron of fighter pilots will all get some major screen time in this story, along with Senia Felix. We’ll see how it all comes together.
When I started writing this thing called Rocket Fox back in November, I had hoped to get in 50K words for NaNoWriMo. Well, that sort of fell through, because my brain couldn’t decide if I was writing this new thing about Rocket Fox or revamping Black Mask & Pale Rider (which, I’ll still do). Over the course of the winter, I hit a lot of really deep lows, and there were several times I really felt like quitting. I had every excuse in the book to stop writing. Fortunately, one thing kept me going, and that was what I thought my 12 year old self would have thought if I just quit.
I know that kids expect things, especially when someone promises to do that thing. When that promise is broken it’s damaging to the child. So I couldn’t give up, because then I’d be breaking a promise. Even if the promise was to a part of myself that resides somewhere deep in my past.
I ended up setting a date, a deadline as it were, way back in December. I didn’t publish this date or tell anyone about this date at all, I just told myself and hoped my 12 year old self would get it as well. That date was by the end of April, the first book of Rocket Fox would see the first draft completed. I have two chapters left now. There’s over 60,000 words in the story, which isn’t a lot, but when you think of how long the Great Gatsby is, then you realize why NaNoWriMo settled on 50,000 words in a month. That’s how long the Great Gatsby is; 50,000 words. With only two chapters left in Rocket Fox, I think I might get the total around 70,000 (give or take a couple of thousand words). And then the editing can start.
There’s other things I want to do for the book, which includes my own artwork. That in and of itself is a daunting task because I haven’t sat down to drawn in over two decades. I used to draw a lot, but gave up at some point in my life. But I really feel that Rocket Fox deserves to have pictures between each chapter, something that reflects the chapter to come, and a small reminder to the reader that these characters aren’t human.
I’m hoping that sometime this weekend I’ll have finished the first draft of Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk, and be ready to get the second draft on the go.
One last gathering for family and friends in a sociable atmosphere before the newly formed crew of the Nighthawk must undertake their mission. Will this be the formation of a new, formidable force to help protect the Vulpine Star System, or is this just the calm before the storm?
Click the link to download the latest in the series.
I had a recent conversation with a friend and I posted a loose transcript of it on tumblr, but thought I’d share it here as well. A lot of what I’ve learned about writing has come from societal influences, and I’ve tried to gear my writing toward a certain demographic. Here’s the conversation.
- Person: So, in Rocket Fox, I noticed you only have two male characters.
- Me: There’s more than that.
- Person: No, you have only two named male characters.
- Me: Clarfax is the first one, Sparky is another. There’s Bobby, Gilbert, Philbert, Colonel Nelson Tyrell, Colonel Reginald Pitts, Colonel Fillias Stigian…
- Person: …who happens to be the villain.
- Me: Antagonist, but yes. There’s also the barbers, Simon and Hector Longfur, the cook, Angus Longear. Dr. Ringtail, both junior and senior. Nurse Michael Littlepaw. Let’s see…. I think that’s it.
- Person: Yeah, but you’ve got a lot more female characters in the story. The captain and commanding officer of the ship, the chief engineer, one of the communications officers for the pilots, the squadron leader, a doctor, a nurse…
- Me: That’s because the doctor and nurse are Procylon, and they work as mated pairs and their mates share their vocations.
- Person: Yeah, but still. And most of them have positions of authority.
- Me: Yeah, it’s a change from the usual that’s seen in fiction.
- Person: How do you mean?
- Me: Name all of the main characters in the original Star Wars movies. How many were women?
- Person: One, Princess Leia.
- Me: Exactly. You’ll find that a lot in most television programs and in movies. Yet, a large percentage of those who watch those shows and movies happen to be women. See, they aren’t being reflected in the things they watch.
- Person: …oh
- Me: It gets even worse when you parse it down to people of colour. Take that Lena Dunham show.
- Person: Girls.
- Me: The main cast, while all women, is also all white. And any person of colour or woman of colour is relegated to a position which can be described as “the help”. Which is a stereotypical image of African American, South Asian, and even Middle Eastern people.
- Person: But Asians are always portrayed as smart, computer nerds good at math.
- Me: Asians are more than Chinese or Japanese.
- Person: ….I think I have a headache.
- Me: Take it slow, it takes time to understand. As long as you try.
- Person: So, what do you hope to accomplish with this story?
- Me: In the end? I want to write a story that encompasses two things from my youth; Wind in the Willows and Star Trek. I came up with this idea when I was 12. I hope that it will instill wonder in people about space exploration. I also want it to be viewed as hopeful for the future. And I know that all the characters are anthropomorphic, but that still doesn’t change how a person will read the story. Ultimately, I have a story to tell, and the best person who can tell it is me.
- Person: So, you aren’t trying to give moral lessons of equality with this.
- Me: No one said I have to do one thing when I’m telling a story. Some things are much more subtle.
I am struttin’ my stuff today, because I am quite close to completing the first book of Rocket Fox.
There were times when I took a look at what I was doing and just thought…
It seemed a great deal larger than I had originally planned. But, I managed to carry on and pounce on the idea.
Oh, I know there are going to be those who will bemoan what I’ve been doing, saying it’s not worth it, you really shouldn’t try, so on an so forth. I, however, have a few things to say to that.
There are those that have stuck by what I’ve been doing and have taken note of several things. This is a first draft, after all. While the writing of the first book is near completion, there’s still a long way to go. So, to those who support me…
So, because I’m in such a good mood, and my work is nearing completion…
(animated gifs are not all of my creation, save for two from Champions Online, the remaining are from YouTube, Star Wars, Star Trek, Treasure Planet, Firefly, the Office, Pirates of the Caribbean, M*A*S*H, and Robin Hood)
The senior staff of the Nighthawk has been chosen. Graduation is only two days away. Senia has surrounded herself with trusted peers and each has put together a good team of engineers, scientists, doctors, and pilots. She’s even found that there are some colourful characters, what with the two Felanus barbers in Simon and Hector Longfur, and the veteran galley cook with Angus Longear.
But most importantly, the crew has learned just what the plot was that affected the academy. Fillias Stigian reveals there is indeed a nefarious plot at work.
Download Chapter Fourteen of the Rocket Fox adventure, or catch up with the entire series to date with Rocket Fox – Flight of the Nighthawk.
As I’m writing the last few chapters of Flight of the Nighthawk, I’m jotting down some notes and getting some ideas for the next story. It’ll definitely continue on from this first one, as the crew of the Nighthawk will try to uncover this nefarious plot to undermine the safety of the Vulpine Star System. But I’ll also add some to the next story.
This first story is what I would hope the future would look like for us (even though it’s with anthropomorphized foxes, cats and raccoons), where society has ridden itself of ills, accepted equality and made even more steps toward progress. War, disease, poverty, all eliminated in this future. Which is nice to think of that we’ll one day move past the aspects of segregation and bigotry that we face today. And yes, we are still facing that. All you have to do is watch the evening news and see it. Every. Single. Day.
Well, having a utopian type society to look forward to is nice, but it doesn’t really make for an overall story arc. There are obviously dangers that the Vulpinians recognize, otherwise they wouldn’t have a military to help protect their star system. Many of those dangers are outside forces like the Jackai raider and even the Raptory that has been hinted at. But there’s one danger within the star system itself.
Introducing Pau Theta II.
Pau Theta II will be an original Vulpine Colony, but many of the societal changes that happened on Vulpinia Prime did not take place on Pau Theta II. After Vulpinia Prime went through its Gender War (which will be explained in the second story) and went to a Matriarchal system, Pau Theta II gained her own independence and broke off most ties with Vulpinia Prime. Within the last three hundred years, the Royal Vulpine Policing Authority placed a base on Pau Theta II and a maximum security prison was also placed there, but they have no jurisdiction with the citizens of the planet, nor is their location close to the main city of Rondu.
Pau Theta II’s society will be a stark contract to the clean paradise of Vulpinia Prime, and this even though the planets are right next door to one another, both orbiting the Vulpine Sun. There is a decided difference in wealth, as Pau Theta II has kept her own currency system (whereas Vulpinia Prime has no banking system, and persay, but they do have a barter system). There are several different sections of Rondu, which include a more affluent section which resides on one side of the river, while the poor sections are right across the river, behind a forty foot wall (this is assumed to have been built so that anyone living in the more wealthy area wouldn’t have to look at the poverty on the other side). In this more poverty stricken area, disease, hunger, crime are all high. Females are treated as second class citizens, even though Vulpine and Felanus are not segregated. There is four different sections, however, which includes a Vulpine Section, a Felanus Section, a Critainian Section and a Lupine Section. Many of the Critainians and Lupine were merchants who would find their merchant hauling ships impounded for one infraction or another. Because Rondu and most of Pau Theta II broke off contact with Vulpinia Prime and the RVAF, a large number of those from Critainia and Lupinia found themselves in front of unfair judicial systems. Many were jailed and released after a few years, only to find their merchant haulers were confiscated to help pay for the fines levied against them. Usually this happened to the captain of a merchant hauler only. The crew (which in Lupinians’ case was the family or pack) were often pushed out into the streets, told they would have to await the final decisions. Most never heard from the judiciary body again.
During the time of the Great Lupine Land War, the “government” of Pau Theta II declared any RVAF ship found within her orbit would be considered an act of aggression. This was ratified to make accommodation for the Main Authority and the maximum security prison. While officers of the Main Authority can go to Rondu, they are not allowed to go into the more influential section. They are assigned an administrator of communication should they have any of their own issues, and that same administrator reviews all communications from the Main Authority before they are sent on to Starbase Omega One.
Many in Vulpinian society know that Pau Theta II has problems, and even the global government has been trying to help change things, offering suggestions how to make relations more friendly, but the ruling powers of Rondu don’t really care about changing at all.
None of this includes the conditions which the main indigenous population of Pau Theta II has endured.
Yes, there is a native population of the planet, though they aren’t as simple and backward as some might think. They are considered a threat by Rondu ruling class, and have branded them terrorists. This native population is called the Chiroptera, nicknamed the Flying Foxes. They have gained some sympathy and empathy from the poorer sections of Rondu, but the Flying Foxes have taken a longer time to feel sympathy for them. For many Flying Foxes, they still see any Vulpine or Felanus as an invading oppressor.
So that’s some of what the next story has in store. I realize I have a lot of work ahead of me.
The ideas are there, which is better than what it was before, during the bleak days of winter when I’d truly had enough of this season. I had, for the past several months, wanted to write but just felt really tired all the time. It’s getting better now as the signs of spring are showing. Or at least, the snow is starting to melt. At least, I hope it doesn’t melt fast otherwise we’ll have flooding problems to contend with.
Flooding aside, over the winter months the motivation has been very difficult to get myself writing. I sometimes wonder how someone like Louis L’Amour wrote so prolifically, and why they make it look so easy. Even J. K. Rowling’s sweeping epic of Harry Potter seemed to come out with no problem. Naturally, I know it wasn’t easy. Writing isn’t easy at all. The only easy thing about writing is the sitting down part. Even tapping away at keys isn’t hard. It’s the development of the story and of the world. For some, the world is already there, it’s familiar. We all know what to expect in a western. We are fairly certain of the course of events in a medieval story. But when you create your own world and give it its own rules, then it becomes harder. Add to that the narrative, the characters, the events. All of it becomes more difficult. But, when it’s all done, it become really rewarding. It’s something you can look at and go “I did it, I finished it”.
I’m not far from completing this first book in the Rocket Fox series. I’m looking forward to it. I just hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew with this series I’ve decided to undertake.
I’m really looking forward to that moment when I can look at it all and say to myself “it’s done, I’m finished”.
I’ve discussed this topic a few times before, so here’s part one and part two (part one includes LGBTQ people, while part two just focuses on women).
I honestly wish I didn’t have to do this again, but it looks as though this is going to end up being a monthly conversation. The reason why is that a lot of people just still don’t get it. There is a reason why women in fiction, every medium of fiction, is important.
I’m focusing on women in this post, because there’s still this stigma that if a product has a woman on the cover, it won’t be as wildly popular than if generic, white, cookie cutter man is on the cover. That stigma is the problem, and some can’t get past it, which means that a lot of marketing for video games, movie titles, books, comics and so on drops off because the head honchos don’t believe a female lead title can sell. Which is weird because a lot of female lead products have been wildly successful in the past.
- Xena: Warrior Princess
- Wonder Woman
- Batgirl (all three incarnations)
- Birds of Prey (the comic)
- Spider-Girl (and a good deal of the MC2 universe)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
And quite a few more that I can’t think of off the top of my head (though, I’m sure others can add to this list). So why are we always taking a step back whenever a new female lead title starts to make it’s way through the press? Why are we forced to deal with the same nay sayers over and over again over female characters in print, film and digital media formats? Is it an insecurity that suddenly women will become more ubiquitous then men in fiction? I doubt that considering that the number of female lead titles that exist is still only a small handful compared to the number of male (and white) lead titles that exist in the world. Keep in mind, for decades it was always a male power fantasy to be the shining knight and save the damsel in distress. This was the way of things. It’s old and tired now, but those who like old and tired things are trying to hook up the white knight to a heart monitor and keep him alive via external machines. Well, it’s time to just let him die, he had a good life, now let him die with dignity and let the new stuff happen.
This is another reason why women in fiction is important (and this part doesn’t just cover female characters, but female writers, artists, creators, and not just white women, but women of all colours); women bring something new to the table. A different point of view that can bring about new stories and keep the world’s creativity alive. Let’s face it, we’re starting to hit the bottom of the barrel, creatively speaking, and we need new stuff. After all, why the hell are we doing remakes of Total Recall and Psycho in movies when we could be searching for something different. The main answer to that is business people really don’t like taking risks and they’d rather play with a sure thing. When they do take a risk, doing so with something that has a female lead is often way too risky for them to go through with it. And even when they do go ahead with it, they don’t promote it enough in order to allow that thing to work.
Bottom line, let more women be creative leads in every aspect. Let women be the main characters of popular culture. But make sure it’s not in some patronizing way. Make it believable. We’ll all be more creatively richer for it.
When last we left our story, the cadets of Chattingham academy along with Colonel Tyrell and Captain Mallard were trying to track down Colonel Stigian. Stigian, it had been revealed was attempting to set a bomb at the faculty building, when discovered, he fainted and was taken to the academy medical facility. Meanwhile, Senia Felix has been informed by General Gerring she has been chosen to captain a new breed of starship in order to root out this conspiracy that could affect all of Vulpinia Prime. Why exactly did Stigian faint, and is he in dire medical need? And who will Senia recruit to join her as part of the crew of the latest ship in the fleet; the Nighthawk?
The latest chapter of Rocket Fox: Flight of the Nighthawk is now available. Download and read via pdf reader.
I’ve been asked this question a few times about the different characters in Rocket Fox. How are they different? Usually, at first I think they mean as in their character, their likes and dislikes, how they react to situations. But no, what the question ends up meaning is what is their physical differences.
Well, aside from the obvious (there are three species, one is fox like humanoids, another is cat like humanoids and the third is raccoon like humanoids) there are some major differences in the types of “races” within each species. The Vulpine and the Felanus so far have the most varieties, with the Procylon having very rare differences (mostly because I haven’t completely done a lot of research on raccoons). The Vulpine are made up of different peoples, such as the Arctish, Fennesh, Kit, Auburn and Swift. Each has a different fur colouration, while the Fennesh, who are the smallest of the Vulpine people, are known for their large ears. With the Felanus, there is the Ocata, Lynx, Carac, Serva, Sandicia, and the Sphynx.
Of all the animals I’ve used in Rocket Fox, the Sphynx is the only cat that was purposely bred in domestication. And, the Sphyx was a complete accident. The first Sphyx cat was born in Toronto, Ontario, making it the only domestic cat which has it’s origins in Canada (there is the Russian Sphynx which came after the Canadian Sphynx). The Sphynx is known for being a hairless cat.
In the world of Rocket Fox, the Sphynx are a race of Felanus who live primarily in the island nation of Mayalasia. They call themselves Mayalans, and like the real life animal, they have no fur. When the first Vulpine and Felanus explorers met the Mayalans, they believed the island chain to be a quarantine zone for those Felanus (believed to be mostly Sandicians) who were suffering from one of the worst diseases known across Vulpinia Prime; the Mange. It wasn’t until much later that they realized they did not in fact suffer from Mange, but were hairless to begin with. The Sphynx are a very curious, inquisitive and intelligent race of Felanus. Not many join the ranks for the space fleet or the global military, but Sphynx are known for their use of the sciences. Many of the medical breakthroughs of Vulpinia Prime began thanks to common practises with the Sphynx people. The Sphynx are not usually known for their love of snowy climates, which may be a reason why not many join the RVAF. One of the survival classes at any academy is to hike for three weeks during winter in the northern areas of Kanata. Keeping warm is a very important thing during this time.
There will be a character coming up in the Rocket Fox story who will be one of the fighter pilots on board the Nighthawk who is Sphynx. Her name will be Chloe Grivana, and she’ll be a bit of a show off, but will prove she’s more than capable of the task at hand and becomes a very valuable member of the crew of the Nighthawk.